The big essay that all them years of school, college and partying have lead to. Throughout university the word is dropped, “this will prep you for when you have to write you’re dissertation in third year,” “Get the partying out of your system now, cause in the third year when you have your dissertation to complete there will be no time,” “you need to plan the summer before, and make sure you hit every deadline if you want a decent grade.”
Well all I can say to that is BULLSHIT!! Well in my case anyways, it seems that third year has been my year for truly discovering what a bar crawl is, what spending every free minute available at the pub really feels like and truly utilising bloody Marys and naps to get by. Yes, i started the first term with all the best intentions, I even turned up early on my first day back, but of course this energised, i’m going to do all readings on the day set, spend free time in that library and actually visit the larger campus library, this year is my year to study attitude soon dwindled.
Within the first few days the work was being pushed aside for another day, whilst the pub took all priority. I managed to hit deadlines, just about, can’t deny that every deadline was a breeze, there was stressful times, all nighters and countless cups of coffee and glasses of red wine (it helps me get my writing flow), but i did it. Some modules I was fairly together with throughout the terms, perhaps not quite as together as I had planned and insinuated to others, but I consistently churned out some sort of research and work towards the end product, even if it was a sentence a week.
I constantly kidded myself throughout the year that my dissertation was developing, I had sat and created a mind map during the summer to try and decide a final question, which didn’t really deliver my outcome, that came from a conversation with my sister. I went to the first few dissertation lectures, wrote out a plan of when i was going to achieve certain goals towards the final essay, went to my tutorial and came up with a question that wasn’t so broad. My tutor seemed excited for what I was going to research, so I felt confident, I was on the right path, I could go to the pub and relax.
The christmas holidays came and went, beyond having a question, i had nothing more to go towards my research, I knew i was due a tutorial so i did a quick google of some questions my tutor wanted me to find out, went along and fair to say, she was reassuring, but i think slightly unimpressed with my productivity, however I still had 3 months, still time to enjoy going out with my friends. Then I heard the words “literature review”, sorry what??, ahhh, this was a new phrase, cue a slight panic, “what the fuck is a literature review!?”, ok I have to actually read about theories and argue them, maybe now is the time to go to the library. YES. However, sunny days distracted and i find myself in beer gardens on my way to uni, never quite making it through the doors, thankfully there’s a thing called google books, fair to say i utilised as best i could. Typing in phrases that i wanted, and then counter arguments, there it is highlighted in yellow, reference is pretty much made, brilliant. I did eventually pop in the library grab a pile of books, and typed up the odd comment into word, ready for when I was in the mood to actually put the dissertation together. I even purchased a couple of books from a charity shop that looked like they might be appropriate, I didn’t quite understand the content had of the time, but as long as there were references I thought that all that counts.
So I’m there with a month to go, in total i’ve probably spent about 3 hours gathering information, but is there any content to my final dissertation? No of course not!! It was now time however to try get to grips with this literature review, I looked through my word document of references, pulled a few out that argued each other, and wrote a few words around them, there I had 250 words towards my 8,000, excellent, i was achieving, then my phone went and soon enough i was having another 3 nights out!!
Fuck, there was 1 week to go, 1 fucking week, and i didn’t even have 1,000 words, i sat panicking of an afternoon achieved just target, there it was 850 words. The sun was shining and teasing me, i couldn’t sit inside at my laptop with that out there, you never know how long the sunshine spells going to last, so off out i went, and i really went. Returned home, with 24 hours left before hand in.
WHY HAVE I DONE THIS??
I tried typing, got to 2,000, it 5pm, i had til 12pm the next day, to get it finished, get to uni, get it printed, bounded and handed in! What the fuck have i been playing at? By 7pm, i was in ultimate stress mode, the cigarettes were going down 2 by 2, it was time to call the mumma and cry!!! The thought crossed my mind to just leave it, I wasn’t going to graduate anyway, so i thought, all my work had been a bit last minute put together. My mum even said leave it, the stress isn’t worth it, go to bed, however my sister overheard and made sure I sat and I did it.
It was now 9, I had a shower, made some dinner, lit some candles and relaxed for half an hour, refreshed myself, and go typing, typing like I’ve never before. 11 I skyped my sister, sending her copies of the story so far, by 3am i was just over half way there. I had to keep going i could do it, it’s not going to get anything above a 3rd but it will be complete and handed it in.
Getting into uni that morning was frantic, i still had at least 1,000 words and just under 2 hours. The library was a buzz of people on my course all trying to get it together, constantly looking over and seeing people bounce off happy with their bounded dissertations was adding to the stress. Thankfully, i was on a small campus so once I had gone through the wait for a printer, the wait for binding wasn’t one at all.
I got it in that postbox with 10 minutes to spare!! Fuck me.
The relief, i was shaky, it was time for a cigarette and a pint, ready to wait for result time.
And i can say i fucking did it, Yes the stress was unreal, but i put together a dissertation in 24 hours and came out with 2:1.
Would i recommend leaving it that late, no, not at all, but i also don’t think people should put so much pressure on themselves throughout the final year, you can do it if you want it no matter what. Besides all that time you spend in the library, how much of that is work and how much is that youtube and Facebook??